Similar to, but differing from adoption, in guardianship the court awards legal custody of a child to someone other than the child’s parents. The guardian lives with the child and is responsible for his or her health care, education and social services, such as after-school programs, or in the case of disabled children, regional centers for learning disabilities. The parents are still financially responsible to provide child support, however if unable to do so, the guardian may support the child or can apply for financial assistance through welfare, foster care or other help agencies.
Unlike adoption, in a guardianship a child is still related to his/her birth parents, and the court can allow visitation if suitable. A guardianship lasts until the child is 18 years old or until the court ends the guardianship, assigns a different guardian, or gives the child back to the parents.
Guardianships aren’t limited to relatives; friends or people who know the child can also be selected as guardians.
To understand legal qualifications and details regarding guardianship, contact our office at 408-292-4849 and arrange for a free, one half hour consultation.